ANGELA SAURINE instantly slips into family holiday mode when checking into a Forster caravan park, on the waterfront at Reflections Holiday Parks Forster Beach on the NSW Mid-North Coast
If you are looking for a family holiday destination filled with simple delights, Reflections Holiday Parks Forster Beach, around 3.5 hours’ drive from Sydney on the NSW North Coast, is a great option. Once you drive through the boom gate, there’s no need to put your key in the ignition again until you’re heading home. The park is a short walk to shops and restaurants in the main street, the lake and the beach – everywhere you need to go when you are on holiday really. It’s a popular spot for fishing, which is reflected in the street names in the park, including Prawn Parade, Tuna Terrace and Garfish Avenue. I feel relaxed from the moment I arrive.
Without doubt, the biggest selling point for this holiday park is its central location – between the main beach, mouth of the Coolongolook River and main street – and metres’ walk from the bridge to Tuncurry, where a carnival is held over summer. Just across the road, John Holland Park is a great spot for picnics. I love pushing my toddler on his scooter along the breakwall passing the pelicans that gather there hoping for a feed from the fishermen, and racing each other down the dual slippery dip in the small, but super fun, playground just outside the park’s gates.
Our Economy cabin is basic but has all you need. This includes a kitchen with a full-size fridge, kettle, toaster, an iron and ironing board, TV and DVD player above the main bed, bunk beds and a separate bathroom. I find there’s something about having all the essentials in one room that just makes you feel like you’re on holidays. Other options include stylishly renovated Superior cabins, which sleep up to four people in two separate bedrooms, with a decent-sized deck. The Premium cabins have Apex ceilings, two bedrooms and water views from the deck. Families of five should err towards the Deluxe Cabins, while the trendy and modern Superior Villas sleep up to six people in three bedrooms. Plans are also afoot to redevelop the park, with five new modern two-bedroom cabins. Some cabins will be moved to new locations and some campsites and older cabins will be removed to accommodate them. There are also powered sites for caravans and RVs.
During school holidays, a range of fun activities are on offer, including outdoor movie nights, treasure hunts, bingo, face painting, craft, karaoke and live music.
FOOD AND DRINK
Pizza nights and pancake breakfasts are also offered at the park during school holidays. Otherwise, there are many eateries just a short walk away. Lobby’s Fresh Seafood, at the end of the main street, is a great place to grab fish and chips for a picnic on the grass by the lake. You can also watch the sunset over the water from the verandah at modern Asian restaurant Spice Monkey, or dine at a booth inside. It serves its own Monkey Magic beer on tap, as well as a large range of international and craft beers and teapot cocktails. The historic Lakes & Ocean Hotel, established in 1872, also offers good pub grub. Located opposite the lake, the renovated hotel has large windows and doors opening onto the verandah, and a café on the corner that serves breakfast, cake, tea and coffee. Getting an ice-cream from one of the shops on the main street is a quintessential Forster experience.
There’s plenty of fun family activities around here. Drop a line in at the lake, book a dolphin or whale watching cruise, or hire a tinnie and frolic around Miles Island at low tide. Head to Main Beach, or walk to one of the other beautiful beaches nearby, such as Pebbly Beach or One Mile Beach (which has a sandhill the kids can roll down).
Reflections Holiday Parks Forster Beach
1 Reserve Rd, Forster 2428 NSW Australia